Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Place of Beer in Spiritual Warfare

Internet Monk caught my eye yesterday with this piece about Martin Luther and the devil. Luther had a 'robust' approach to dealing with temptation, possibly a reaction against being over-scrupulous in his younger life. Luther struggled with depression and intrusive thoughts, but taught that the best way to deal with these was to distract yourself by having fun and downing a pint or two with the lads:

Be strong and cheerful and cast out those monstrous thoughts. Whenever the devil harasses you thus, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, aye, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try to conscientiously not to sin at all.

So when the devil says to you, “Do not drink,” answer him: “I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” One must always do what Satan forbids. What other cause do you think that I have for drinking so much strong drink, talking so freely and making merry so often, except that I wish to mock and harass the devil who is wont to mock and harass me.

The Monk himself concludes

Once we truly grasp God’s grace toward us in Christ, we will not live timidly or refuse to relish our Creator’s good gifts. For heaven’s sake, life is hard enough, sad enough, stressful enough. The world, the flesh, and the devil exert their pressures on our spirits every day. The remedies that bring us relief are not always “spiritual.” How could that possibly be? Our Savior, who had a reputation among the righteous as a glutton and winebibber, a friend of “sinners” who loved to party and enjoy gaiety and laughter around the table, won’t stand for it. (my emphasis)

On a similar theme, here's a piece on the place of beer in evangelism. Sort of.



  1. Interesting concept. Sin a little to stop sinning to largely? But Luther obviously also had a sense of humour, which on the face of it, shows that he was not only a great reformer, but a normal human being.

    I don't drink at all (although I do take communion wine). This was a reaction to my drinking to much many years ago, and realising that there was more to life than the bottle.

    But, I don't mind others drinking, in fact, some people are more likeable (read lovable) after a drink or two. Others are exactly the opposite.

    I've never considered that resisting temptation means being miserable, although those who urge you to submit to it, seem determined to make you miserable. Including HRH Lucifer.

    Off course, this means that I also accept the concept of evil existing and even that Hell (perpetual separation from God) exists. This seems to go against some modern theological thinking that God wouldn't allow such a thing to happen as he loves us to much.

    Wonder what Luther would have thought?

  2. What a super quote! Blessed my day.